In 1986 Christ United Methodist Church in Memphis, TN launched SOS as a means to meet needs of some of our city’s most vulnerable homeowners. Since then, SOS has repaired more than 900 homes in the inner-city of Memphis with more than 24,000 volunteers.
Today SOS operates as its own independent 501(c)3 non-profit Christian organization. Our strategy is to focus on specific neighborhoods and to partner with low-income homeowners. We currently serve the neighborhoods of Binghampton and Orange Mound in Memphis, TN.
Through partnerships with other organizations and residents within the communities we serve, SOS helps play a vital role in the holistic Christian community development of these neighborhoods.
All of our work is done with the gospel at the heart of our motivation. We believe that Jesus preached the gospel in both word and deed. He commands us to “repent and believe the gospel,” (Mark 1:15) and he also reaches out and heals lepers (Matthew 8:3). One is not a means to the other, but have equal weight. Our actions will validate our words and our message must be filled with selfless compassion. We desire to introduce homeowners, campers, volunteers and neighborhoods to the One who can change our home and our heart – Jesus Christ. True and lasting change can only come when people are reconciled to God through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Christ’s love is our only hope.
Philip Walkley, Executive Director
Originally from Jonesboro, AR, Philip first volunteered with SOS in 1998 while attending the University of Mississippi. He also served on SOS college summer staff as a Team Leader in 2002. After graduating from Ole Miss, Philip interned with a campus ministry for a year and then served as a youth minister for four years in Grenada, MS. In 2007 he was hired as the Executive Director of SOS and made the move to Memphis. Philip serves on the board of the ReFrame Association and is a contributor to the 2016 book, Gospel Centered Youth Ministry: A Practical Guide published by Crossway. Philip, his wife Kelsea and their three kids (Romey, Archer, and Beckett) are residents of Binghampton. Philip loves his wife and kids, ice cream, mac computers, his minivan, and he is an unashamed choir nerd. Contact Philip
Reed Kirksey, Construction Director
Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Reed worked 5 summers at Blueprint Ministries, a local construction ministry based off of SOS. In 2013, he came to SOS to serve as a summer construction manager. Reed graduated from Baylor University (Sic ’em) with a bachelors degree in Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation. He has lived in Tennessee for over two years now and has been married to his wife, Diane, for a year. Reed is passionate about teaching construction and building Gods kingdom in the city. For fun, Reed enjoys any activity that involves a ball, competition, or quick thinking. His favorite foods include tacos, bread, and meat. Contact Reed
Laura Haltom, Financial Administrator
Laura joined the full-time staff team in August of 2010, soon after marrying her SOS sweetheart and graduating from TCU with a Masters in Accounting. She grew up in Memphis, attending SOS as a high school camper, and later, serving on summer staff in 2005 and 2006. Laura, her husband Drew, and their son Graham live in the Binghampton neighborhood with their two cats. Laura enjoys keeping the SOS full-time staff in line and watching her son grow up. Contact Laura
Ally Velderman, Director of Camps & Programs
Ally first came to SOS on a college spring break trip, returned as an SOS Academy intern (Class of 2013), and has been a part of the staff since 2014, first working as the SOS Builds Director and spending summers with SOS114. While SOS Builds is still her first SOS love, she enjoys spending more time investing in the summer staff family and neighborhood relationships as the Director of Camps and Programs. Ally lives in Binghampton with two former SOS114 summer staffers and Boone the dog. If you visit in Memphis, ask this foodie where the best spots are and get ready to go straight to Summer Avenue for anything from Elwood’s Shack and then to La Michoacana for the pinenut ice cream. Contact Ally
Marlon “Big Dog” Brown, Assistant Construction Director
Marlon joined the summer SOS staff as a Construction Manager for the 2004 summer. The former Mr. Millington (TN) High School and college basketball star brought his jump shot to stay at SOS in August 04. Marlon fulfills many rolls around SOS including, assistant construction director, homeowner relations, exposing folks to the inner city & leading work groups. Marlon spends his free time reading, scuba diving, using his white pickup truck to deliver goods to the less fortunate and eating at Texas de Brazil. In 2009 he married the love of his life, Jackie and together they enjoy bike rides & scuba diving. Contact Marlon
Kelly Coon, Camps & Registration Coordinator
Kelly joined the full-time staff team as Program Director in December of 2012. She is a native Memphian, graduating from White Station High School and Auburn University with a bachelors in International Trade and Spanish. Here at SOS, Kelly lends her talents to recruit, register, and host groups of campers. She lives in Midtown with her new hubby, Levi. When she’s not with her twelve (!!) nieces and nephews, you can find her scavenging local antique stores, hoarding candy in her desk, or generously giving hugs. Contact Kelly
Tyler Parker, Camps & Programs Coordinator
In August 2016, Tyler joined our full time staff team after completing the SOS Academy (Class of 2016) and two previous summers as SOS summer staff. Hailing all the way from Bean Station, TN, he attended Walters State Community College where he was involved with the campus ministry. Tyler loves the outdoors and everything that comes with it– from bike rides to blazing a trail through the woods– and he is always ready to spend time in the Lords beauty. He is excited to call Memphis home. Contact Tyler
Jake Wiig, Assistant Director of Camps & Programs
Jake was born and raised in a small town outside of Omaha, Nebraska. He spent many of his summers working on a produce farm. Jake graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in Sociology and Religious Studies. While at Mizzou, he got involved with a campus church where he met his wife, Amanda. They spent their first week of dating volunteering at an SOS Spring Break trip. They tied the knot in May 2013 and shortly after they moved to Memphis for Jake to participate in the SOS Academy where he worked at the Urban Farm. Jake enjoys playing wheelchair basketball, disc golf, and wood working. He is also an avid people watcher and loves eating and hanging out at Caritas Village in Binghampton. Contact Jake
Mark Newman, Construction & Facilities Coordinator
Mark joined full-time staff team in October 2016. He moved here with his wife, Lauren from Knoxville, TN on their 1 year anniversary, excited for the new adventure of Memphis, SOS, and Occupational Therapy school for Lauren. They met at and attended the University of Tennessee. He served as a maintenance technician for a property management company in Knoxville and is excited to bring his skills and what he’s learned to SOS to serve Memphis. He enjoys being outdoors, playing and watching sports, especially UT football, and building great community with friends. Contact Mark
Emily Holmes, Construction Administrator
Two years ago Emily watched the Lord bring her life full circle & back to Memphis, the city where she was born. She is a professional wedding photographer and previously spent several years in Indianapolis living & serving with an urban women’s ministry. Emily joins our staff team after being an SOS Academy intern in 2015 and focuses on leading homeowner relations while supporting the construction team. She is passionate about sharing life and making connections with people around the table, always has a song stuck in her head and loves exploring new places! Contact Emily
Sidney Dennis, SOS Builds
An Arkansas girl born and bred Sidney grew up in Little Rock, AR. She traveled to Memphis regularly to visit family and watch her father participate in BBQ fest. During her summers after Junior and Senior year at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX she worked on SOS summer staff. While attending TCU she was a flag runner for the TCU horned frogs and graduated with a Communications studies degree. She loves getting outside, facetiming her dogs, and singing at the top of her lungs. She is happy to finally call Memphis Home.